The button has been pressed on the Victorian upper house election, producing a shock result: the DLP has won TWO seats, in Northern Metropolitan as well as Western Victoria. Evan Thornley has just got over the line in Southern Metropolitan. So the final numbers are Labor 19, Liberal 15, Nationals 2, Greens 2, DLP 2. The defeated Labor hopefuls are Elaine Carbines in Western Victoria and Nazih Elasmar in Northern Metropolitan, while Thornley’s seat comes at the expense of the number three Liberal candidate, David Southwick. Hat tip to Antony Green and Andrew Landeryou.

UPDATE (6.25pm): I am informed that the ALP doesn’t think the Northern Metropolitan result looks right and have called for a recount, whatever that might entail.

UPDATE (10.02pm): Andrew Landeryou reports: "ALP strategists are convinced now that the VEC has made a serious error in the northern metropolitan count. It appears that there might be an issue with the calculation of Democrats preferences. VEC sources tell the OC they have hired hundreds of people for re-counting tomorrow".

UPDATE (13/12/06): Alternatively, Antony Green notes the apparent last-minute counting of 8000 above-the-line votes that overwhelmingly favoured the Liberals. This would have increased the quota and reduced the size of the Greens surplus flowing to Labor, leaving them just short of a third quota and allowing the DLP to mop up the remainder.

UPDATE II (13/12/06): Antony Green again, with a potential explanation for those last-minute Liberal votes: "The VEC believes up to 6,000 Liberal votes in Northern Metropolitan may have been double counted. With the integrity of the count in doubt, an entire re-count is being undertaken".

UPDATE III (13/12/06): Via Andrew Landeryou, the following memo to Northern Metropolitan candidates from electoral commissioner Steve Tully:

Following a thorough check of the count sheet for Northern Metropolitan Region, I am sufficiently concerned about the underlying integrity of the Liberal vote in that region to require a recount of all ballot papers.

It is my preliminary view that the Liberal Party vote is overstated by about 6,000 votes and that such an overstatement could have a profound effect on the result.

In order to give parties and candidates time to arrange scrutineers, this recount will commence at 6:00 pm at MECC and will probably conclude around 3 am. The result following the recount will be recalculated.

This recount is in addition to the recounts where arrangements are already in place for Western Victoria and Western Metropolitan Regions.

I have scrutinised the count sheets and ballot paper reconciliations for the other 5 Regions and consider that there are no issues to consider. These will proceed with the current declaration arrangements.

Further, it remains the intention that the recounts will be conducted in time so as not to delay the previously arranged declarations.

Steve Tully
Electoral Commissioner

UPDATE IV (13/12/06): I have heard rumours of a VEC data entry error which saw a 0 entered as a 6, explaining the mysterious late surge in the Liberal vote in Northern Metropolitan; and also of another problem with the original distribution of preferences that had no bearing on the result. However, the ABC reports that "Commissioner Tully has rejected suggestions the Northern Metropolitan result has come from a computer error". But an explanation of some sort is required for those 8000 votes, three-quarters of which went to the Liberal Party, appearing in the count on the final day. The recount is expected to be completed very late this evening, perhaps in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

189 comments on “Re-Groupers”

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  1. I think the inverse donkey vote may have assisted the DLP. If I recall early results on the night were showing the DLP was in a winning position. (But at the time at the expense of the Greens not the ALP)

    Still no reply from the VEC in regards to supply of the preference data-file which without it is impossible to undertake an effective and proper review/scrutiny of the result. The VEC should be required, in the absence of self regulation, under law to provide this information as part of any declaration of the results of the poll. Copies of the data file must also be available to scrutineers on request.

    Leigh Nash its good to hear your input.

    Like it or not Tully has a lot to answer for over the conduct of this election.

    It is fundamental that any public election remains open and transparent and that the public are properly kept informed. With the development and deployment of the internet there is no excuse for not proving more detailed information. Tully was unable or unwilling and refused to provide information on the number of postal vote applications issued, absentee votes and section votes issued. This information should have been readily available. Along with a more descriptive account of the various stages and changes to the count. Tully’s inability to ensure that the election process was open and transparent has undermined confidence in the overall process.

    The other issue of my concern is the refusal of the VEC to publish polling place data for the Upper House. This was previously provided (Both by the AEC in Senate Elections and the VEC is past State elections in this respect the media must share some of the blame)

    As mentioned by many posters above, myself included, without access to the detailed preference data-file it is impossible to analysis in detail the results of the election.

    I have taken the VEC and the AEC to court in the past to re-assert the right for this information to be public. If need be we will again refer this issue to the courts for judicial review. The failure of the VEC to provide detailed information and reports as requested is an ongoing abuse of process. The more we more towards an electronic voting system the more we need to ensure that our electoral systems and the information provided is open and transparent so that people can make informed decisions maintaining confidence overall in our public elections. Without this half backed notions and ideas such as threshold quotas, Party List systems and god forbid first-past-the-post options will continue to be thrown up for consideration. This is not the solution.

    It is quite possible that the result in Northern metro could be a result of the distortion in the calculation of the surplus or segmentation rules. Which as I have demonstrated seriously distort the one vote – one value system. The principle is clear and we must begin to address these issues first and then give further review to other issues such as Optional Preferential voting, Above the line group tickets and the like.

    For those advocating a threshold quota I request that they think more about minorities be they christian evangelists or gay activists. The fact remains that the DLP has secured election in a democratic ballot. Thye were the prefered candidate. This is a strength not a weakness of the preferential voting system. The ALP and other parties need to give more attention to upperhouse campaigns. For too long we have seen major parties ride home on the back of the lower house campaigns hoping to also deliver in the upper house. If there is a weakness in the ALP’s strategy it was not their preference deals but their failure to campaign more effectively on the upper house candidature.

  2. The DLP have achieved nothing more and nothing less then what the Greens, Family First or People Power were hoping to achieve.

    In the United States a president can be elected with 40 percent of the vote with a 40% turnout that means the President of one of the most powerful countries in the world is elected by less then 16% of the people of United States.

    In Melbourne Peter Costigan received 40% of the local vote topping the poll. Although he had 40% of the vote 60% of voters did not want him and he lost the election. (He was latter elected in the following election only to be sacked due to a non functioning City Council and poor guidance from the administration whose conduct was highly questionable but they escaped any accountability or responsibility)

  3. Question whay is there non information about the counting and results on the VEC web site? Surley much more information should be published and available along with the below-the-line preference data file. A count sheet is not sufficent.

  4. For what it is worth I have updated my count sheets

    Whilst the analysis tab shows that it is possible for the DLP to win the seat the notional results based on the registered ticket vote indicates that Labor should have one the fifth spot. I am sure a recount will be called for but again without access to the preference data file it is impossible to ascertain or verify the results of the election. the role of a scrutineer is much more then that of an observer.

  5. I see the Victorian result as showing Hare-Clark working well.

    Like the NSW Legislative Council, a number of microparties brings a situation where a government can mix and match parties to get a majority. It can be expected that the government will usually only fail to get enough support when its legislation is highly partisan or ministerial actions are indefensible. That seems to me to be better than the alternatives, which are a government majority rubber stamp, opposition majority obstruction, or too much power yielded by a single balance-of- power party. It also brings in a breath of fresh air – unconventional, non-professional politicians.

    The deal-making is a bit manipulative, many DLP voters were probably confused intending ALP voters, and I would support making it easier for voters to avoid following the party ticket. Nevertheless, the system does facilitate the election of parties that are centrist enough to build up wide support from a range of other parties. For that reason, the system suited the DLP this time because it offered some social justice to attract the left and and some social conservatism for the right. In contrast, the Greens were not able to build support from other groups.

    There is an excelent introduction to Hare-Clark, Ste-Lague, d’Hondt, and other systems published by the Parliamentary Reserach Service:

  6. Re the 8,000 mystery votes…. did these appear after the XML was updated at about 4pm? At that stage, the vote in NMET had climbed by only 70 and the % counted was second-lowest for the 9 Regions, at 91%. 8,000 votes would have boosted that to 93%, in line with most other Regions.

  7. Having had a look at the count sheets, it appears that North Met has come about because almost all the last ATL votes added on Tuesday (and not in the Monday figures on the VEC site) were for the Liberals. I’m sure there are some questions being asked exactly what these votes were.

    South Met is interesting. Southwick did no better than Thornley with Mayne preferences. Thornley did better on the Democrat third and above preferences distributed after the Green was elected but before the Green surplus was then distributed. The Green surplus put Thornely far enough ahead of Southwick to prevent Southwick winning on Family First and DLP preferences.

    South Met quota was 60301. Thornley finished on 59905, Southwick (LIB) 58369. Thornley elected by 536 votes but with less than a quota.

  8. RECOUNT: The result is “indeterminant” neither major party candidate achieved a quota because of the number of BTLs that exhausted. I wonder what the result would have been if those exhausted votes were returned to the voter to get them to vote between the major parties.

    ALP by the look of it. but we will never know for sure what the will of the people really was.

  9. Thanks Antony for posting some figures – its a bit pathetic the VEC web site still lists figures from Monday afternoon. I reckon the closeness of the result in SMet, NMet and WVic all mean non-display of GVTs could have influenced the results. The Proportional Representation Society (Victoria-Tasmania) inc. wrote to the VEC before the election raising concern about whether that section (73A) of the electoral act would be followed (for Senate elections the similar provision, section 216, has been repeatedly violated by the AEC). Tully assured us everything would be ok, which turned out to be false.

    Antony, do you know if People Power preferences were indeed influential in NMet? The reason why I raised it last night was that for other tickets (Lib, FF, etc), voters would reasonably have expected and wanted DLP to be ahead of ALP. However, your comment about Mayne preferences in SMet supports my suspicion that many PP voters would have preferred the ALP.

  10. NMET: If up to 8,000 votes did materialise after the final posting to the XML site just before 5 pm yesterday, and they were mostly LIb, this would explain it all. A simulation along these lines shows this clearly. For a start, it would increase the quota and reduce the GRN surplus by over 1,000 votes and this, and other things would change the sequence of the exclusions. The critical ALP/DLP “fork in the road” would not then be reached, and the DLP would be elected on the LIB cut-up instead of the ALP cut-up.

    Antony, is this the way it happened?

    In SMET, the quota from the web-site (Mon) was 60,035, on the XML (Tue) it was 59,983 (i.e. lower than the web) and on the count it was 60,301.

    In NMET, the quota on the web-site (Mon) was 59,741, on the XML (Tue) it was 59,814 (i.e. higher than the web) and on the count it was ??,???

    Seems to be a bit of jitter. Primaries would show jitter 6 times higher. Where the jitter is larger than the margins, our simulations will be of no use. So, it’s true- the only poll that counts is the one on the night.

  11. Re: previous assertions that the job of the ALP is to maximise the number of ALP candidates elected.

    Above the line voting *minimise* representation of major parties whereas Robson Rotation maximises it, and the parties know this. So why did they opt for the above the line/GVT system rather than RR? Its because under RR the voters have more power and the party operators have less. The “factional warlords” like having the power to divvy up the seats, and they prefer to sacrafice the odd seat (and upper house majority) rather than lose this power. The Constitution Commision which looked into reform of the Legislative Council didn’t recommend RR, but did mention the possibility of it being considered in the future. Now would be a good time!

  12. The VEC updated its web-site a moment ago, with the notional result of the cut-ups. They make comments:

    NMET: * The VEC is expecting a submission in relation to a recount for the Northern Metropolitan Region.

    WMET: *Recount – While the margin between 5th and 6th candidates is significant, an earlier critical exclusion could affect the result.

    WVIC: *Recount – While the margin between 5th and 6th candidates is significant, an earlier critical exclusion could affect the result.

  13. The problem here is not the lack of a threshold, it’s ticket voting. Chris Curtis said that people are responsible for their own votes. While that should be the case, it’s patently clear that it isn’t the case with a ticket voting system.

    Adam (I think) showed exactly the reasons why we shouldn’t have a threshold when he arbitrarily upped the vote for the Nationals from 4.8% to 5% for his hypothetical list electoral system.

    Thresholds are arbitrary. If the threshold is 5% for a 16.7% quota, who is to say that 4.9% is too low, and 5.1% is high enough? The principle of preference voting is that in such a case it is the preferences of voters that matter.

    4.9% is quite a lot of votes. It is very different to someone getting elected on 1%. So where do we draw the line?

    If you introduce non-ticket ATL voting like in NSW, you eradicate the problems of ticket voting without introducing an arbitrary threshold.

    Firstly, preferences must be shown on how-to-votes, to prevent the hidden preference deals which elected DLP (in Western Victoria) and Family First federally, and also gives voters the clear choice to change their preference sheet.

    No party’s preference flows are going to go 100% to one party or another. Ticket voting will always result in some preferences flowing against the voter’s choice.

    Because many voters will choose their own preferences, preferences cannot be channeled between parties so effectively without ticket voting, preventing the possibility for microparties to win.

    It also has the added advantage of generally decreasing the purpose for microparties.

  14. I seem to remember reading somewere the it was the ALP in Qld that in the 40`s to harm the electoral chances of the then new Liberal Party introduced the split up of the state into Zones with a set number of seats for each zone.
    Is this correct?

    All lower houses should have Hare-Clarke.

  15. Tom,

    I think you are talking about malapportionment of single-member electorates. The “zones” still consisted of single-member seats, it just meant that they weren’t all the same population. I think it disadvantaged the Liberals because the Liberals were city-based and the zones in the country had fewer people per electorate.

  16. “I also believe that the environmental movement has made a fundamental mistake in turning themselves from an effective mass movement and lobbying force into an ineffective fringe political party, which has been colonised by all the leftovers of the 1970s far left and serves mainly to discredit environmentalism.”

    The environmental movement has done nothing of the sort. The major environmental organisations such as the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society and the various State environmental peak councils, and the very numerous non-institutionalised environmental campaign groups and networks, have continued to exist, campaign and lobby independently of the Greens. The relationship which exists between the ALP and the trade union movement does not exist between the environmental movement and the Greens, despite the misconception which some posters on this thread seem to entertain.

    The Greens are a political party of individual members who have joined for a range of reasons of which concern for the environment is an important one, but not the sole one. As an example, of the two Green MLCs in Victoria, one (Greg Barber) has a background primarily in the environmental movement but in other movements as well, whilst the other (Sue Pennicuik) has a background in the trade union movement as the Environmental Projects Officer with the AMWU and an OHS organiser with the ACTU (in which capacity she shared an office and responsibilities with Bob Richardson, organiser of the Country Alliance!).

  17. I do not get why all the Greens are complaining about the election of DLP candidate instead of Greens candidates, it all just sounds like sour grapes to me.

    Quite simply, Labor did the right thing, instead of having Greens control the balance of power, they now share it with the DLP. And the DLP were once part of the Labor party, it can be easily argued that they are much closer to the Labor party than the Greens are.

    And most Labor party people remember when the Greens last held a lot of influence in a state, the Tasmanian Labor party definitely remembers.

    And for those obsessed with Stephen Fielding – Get over it, even if Stephen Fielding did not get elected, the Liberal and National will still have the Senate majority.

    While the Greens might disagree, it is always better, if the party holding the balance of power is not an extremist party.

  18. I heard Lyle Allan on 3LO this morning talking about the DLP. He said basically it was a party of Catholics of Irish descent and that it was anti-Communist but is now concerned with moral issues and is really a party of Labor principles unlike Family First which is really a dummy party for the Liberals. He doesn’t seem too upset about the DLPs election. I seem to recall Lyle writing something about the DLP in a labour history journal in the 1980s.

  19. The ALP could have prevented the Coalition from getting a Senate majority if they had preferenced Len Harris of One Nation before they preferenced the National Party. The ALP put One Nation last, with consequences such as the sale of Telstra which Len Harris would not have supported. I’m not advocating support for One Nation, but I think One Nation candidates should have been looked at on an individual basis rather than just preferencing them last, a practice that used to be adopted towards the Communist Party

  20. dovif: really? You think most ALP voters (and People Power voters) would be in favour of: abolishing the family court; no IVF for single women or lesbians; an end to affirmative action for women; strong anti-pornography (for the kiddies, of course); no funding for abortions or stem-cell research; enforcement of the criminal abortion laws; establishing an Advocate for the Unborn Child; HIV is to be considered a “homosexual disease”; making divorce much harder. These are all DLP policies. And while with two votes they can’t pass them themselves, they can either cut deals Harradine-style to push some of them, or at least use the loud megaphone that they’ve been given by the ALP.

    Ironically, given how their election in NMET can be at least partially ascribed to the donkey vote and being before the ALP on the ballot (they got position #1) their policies also include:
    Ballot papers in elections to be printed in batches listing the names of candidates and party groups in a variable or rotated order to ensure that no candidate or group gains advantage from the proverbial “donkey vote”.

  21. Chipping in a bit late here since the point has already been made by others but anyway – I agree that a threshold is not the answer. I have no problem, in principle, with someone getting elected on a small primary vote under the preferential system, since I see it as a fair representation of the preferences of the voters … assuming that the votes accurately represent the preferences of the voters – and this is the problem. GVTs mean that it is likely that many ballots do not represent the actual views of voters, and what’s more it makes people cynical and distrustful of preferential voting and or proportional representation, which are not the source of the problem.

    One more thing, for those suggesting that the DLP are pretty similar to the ALP anyway, look into some of their policies – they seem pretty close to FF on some issues.

  22. If people truly believe that the ALP is closer to the DLP then the Greens, that’s fine. Well it’s obviously not fine but you can’t argue against that preference decision. But I don’t believe the DLP and ALP have any similarity at all. The DLP fit quite clearly on the right of the spectrum, much closer to Family First, and many policies far beyond the Liberals.

    I’d be interested to find out in any seats where BTL preferences from ALP voters were distributed between DLP and Greens, to see how they flowed (such as Western Victoria).

  23. I had no idea the DLP supported Robson Rotation! Had I known it, I might have voted for them ahead of the ALP. It must surely be the greatest irony.

    BTW, “Austin”, the ALP did preference the DLP in NMet but it didn’t influence the result. Early in the counting it looked like it might, by knocking out the Greens, who had less than a quota. I liked your comment anyway.

  24. Those attacking the ALP for doing a deal with the DLP have obviously never read the policy manfesto of the Greens.

    The ALP (or at least moderate, sensible elements of the party) has far more in common with the DLP than with the lamentable gang of enviro-thugs/communists/private school rebels that run under the banner of the Greens. The DLP’s view on abortion is probably to the right of most mainstream Victorians. Their views on most other issues however could fit quite comfortably with the moderate Bracks Labor regime.

    The rantings and footstamping of the bedwetting Green MLC who outrageously claimed the ALP had caused the election of ‘right-wing nutters’ simply goes to prove that both the ALP and the Liberal Party should always place these filthy malcontents last. They are a blight that oozes such arrogance that they refuse to even accept the people’s verdict.

  25. Antony Green Says:

    Remember this, all of the European PR systems that have a threshold use D’Hondt, Saint-Lauge or some variant. None of those PR systems use a quota. They are divisor based systems, so depending on how the vote divides up, a party can get elected on a very low vote. That’s why a threshold is used, to cut out this vagarie that can elect parties on very low votes.

    But a threshold on a quota based system? I’ll stand corrected but not sure I can immediately think of one.

    I’m a bit late to this debate, but I agree with this.

    Thresholds exist in other systems exist to block out parties with low levels of support. But it’s simply not necessary under our system where the quota already has that function.

    If a party can build up their vote to a quota, even on preferences, then that’s indicative of widespread support. Unless of course, there’s something fishy about how those preferences were attained…

  26. A friend in Victoria tells me that apparently at the critical exclusion point the 4th Labor candidate in Western Metro beat the Greens candidate by only 76 votes, and there will be a recount. Any thoughts on that?

  27. I find all this discussion very interesting. In the Lower House seat of Ivanhoe an ex local Mayor, who is also a J. Mulholland polled almost 10% as an independent. It would be interesting to see if a large number of votes went to the Upper House DLP J.Mulholland from Ivanhoe?

  28. “ALP cost the Greens yet another seat and gave it to a party that’s pro-nuclear weapons and anti-abortion.”

    Clearly that’s what they meant to do… given that large numbers of the ALP “leadership” are pro-nuke and anti-abortion. It’s about time we realised this.

    Sooo… tell me is the ignoring of Isabella organised or is it just a mark of the fact she is the most stupid commenter. Ever.

  29. OK everyone, here’s the news. The VEC believes up to 6,000 Liberal votes in Northern Metropolitan may have been double counted. With the integrity of the count in doubt, an entire re-count is being undertaken.

  30. Ntbts, I see the ALP’s preferencing the DLP into the Upper House as a stuff-up rather than a conspiracy – although in the light of Fielding’s election in 2004 it could best be described as a case of Proverbs 26:11.

    Talking about proverbs, there is an Irish one which explains why I am not responding to Isabella.

  31. Antony, OC readers – and that’s everyone right? – had that news an hour ago.

    But in other weirdness, it seems the count sheets reveal that there was a misallocation of the Democrats votes. Not an error with any impact on the result it seems though but still a bit disturbing that a few thousand votes are incorrectly counted.

    I think the “computer count” in the way the VEC does it has been rather seriously discredited by this whole exercise. I suspect the government will take a more active interest in such things from now on.

  32. The Greens are closer in closer ideologicaly to many labor voters than the acctual Labor party, what with the government`s PPPs and suport for privatly run and owned public transport and policy to cut bussiness red tape by 25% (regulations are there for a reason).

    The Greens could increase their vote in the traditional labor voting areas but making as point of this.

  33. “Tom”, Labor voters actually support the Labor Party – unlike the Greens and many of the Tomato Left they are not trapped helplessly sometime in the 1960s-70s.

  34. In relation to How to vote cards, I believe in Tasmania, you cant hand them out in State Elections, which apart from rotation and hare/clarke affects the results

    Maybe in future elections the party symbol should be on the ballot paper as well as the name

    Finally the list system in New Sealand and Scotland, correct me if I am wrong, but you can only vote above the line (in NZ its a simple tick). Therefore you cant vote below the line even inside a party’s ticket.

    Personally,I still believe in abolition of the upper house and having a lower house with a / some PR and single member electorates.

    I note in NZ and Scotland you can run for both the list and an individaul seat. If you get elected to both you chose (or must take the single member seat?)

    To those that think the ALP and DLP are a natural fit, I’d suggest you talk to those ALP members who went through the split or were involved in the labour movment afterwards. The fact that families were tor apart, people lost jobs will never be forgotten by a lot of older aged ALP members.

    Following on from Andrew Landeryou’s comments, does this change your veiw Andrew on computer voting elections?. AS you know I always opposed you, but I seem to remember you proposing it at university

  35. For Labor supporters to bewail the rise of the Greens is like complaining about globalisation. Their rise was inevitable eventually. The event that initiated their breakthrough was the 2001 election and Labor’s response to the Tampa. At the time Labor’s response was hailed as brilliant hard-headed realism that kept many Labor MPs in parliament (until they lost their seats in 2004) and saved them from a life of desperate post-election poverty and distress. Sometimes doing the right thing turns out to be the politically pragmatic strategy in the longer term.

  36. And, how about this, which I just received in an e-mail:

    You might be interested to know that the Vic Greens are trying to get out 160
    scrutineers to go to the tally room because of the Western Metro upper
    house seat. It seems that the Greens lost it by 76 votes.
    Apparently the recount is starting in 16 minutes from now, and will
    go on till midnight.

    Did we lnow about this?

  37. No, it’s WMET alright. It started at 1:30 pm apparently, expected to finish at midnight.

    If Group Votes were Ticket votes, the ALP-GRN gap at the fork in the road would be about 3,000 votes. There are 8,000 ALP BTLs. Given that an ALP scrutineers report from one booth on the Sat night said 50% of ALP1 BTL was going to GRN1, no wonder it was close.

    There is a recount going on in WVIC too, though.

  38. I used to be a scrutineer and numbers man for the Irish Labour Party (3rd party by size) and have been involved in many, many, many recounts. One went for 2 weeks. It was the last seat in a 5 seat constituency, and it went back and forth between 3 candidates by 2-4 votes on the 23 count. The winner decided if the government had a majority or not.

    Just so I understand. All the votes are typed into a computer, for BTL votes operators enter the preference orders? Why bother, it is simple enough just to group them in batches and count the batches. You need a bit of room but not that much. It is then much easier for the scrutineers to challenge the validity of votes (which is why Irish recounts can take a while, we love a good argument over if a ballot paper stamp is correctly applied or is that one really a seven or isn’t that person dead while at the polling booth, etc.). Usually the majority of our seats are counted by the end of following day.

  39. “Maybe in future elections the party symbol should be on the ballot paper as well as the name”

    I’m all for this suggestion of Peter Mitchell’s – people who are functionally illiterate would benefit from this (particularly in the upper house voting above the line).

    Lee Naish also makes a valid point – “it seems the VEC did not comply with Section 73A(1) of the Electoral Act 2002 – “(1) If a group voting ticket is, or group voting tickets are, registered for the purposes of a Council election, the Commission must cause the ticket or tickets to be prominently displayed at the election day voting centres in a manner determined by the Commission”.” – people at the booth where I was handing out HTVs were asking to see the group tickets, and I was telling them that they could see them inside as they had to be displayed – until a lady came back out and informed me that they were NOT on display. I had to go inside and ask for them – and the guy running the booth couldn’t find them. It was only because I insisted that he eventually went through boxes and dug them out – after which he did show them to anyone who asked, but they were not displayed.

    I also wondered (as I scrutineered) how many of the informal votes that were obviously meant to be formal (as opposed to the ones where people have written something stupid or not filled anything in at all) were done by people who had refused to take any HTVs – and wondered whether maybe the VEC should do their own HTVs showing what a formal vote and what an informal vote look like, and whether people should have to take one if they don’t take any others.

  40. Well, before everyone goes spare, it is important to remember that scrutineers are part of the counting system. If an error has occured, it is always important that sufficient documentation exists that it can be located and corrected. If an error has occured, and they can occur, that’s what scrutineers are there for, to look for errors. If Electoral Commissions were omnipotent and incapable of error, there wouldn’t need to be scrutineers.

  41. I find this is all taking its toll on the old ticker! So when do we know? Tonight, next week or is this another Palm Beach, Florida. I felt that poor old Steve Bracks looked very much like Al Gore.

    But seriously, when do we know?

  42. Tomorrow morning by the sounds of it.

    It’s interesting that at 3pm the ABC reported Tully as rejecting the idea that there had been an error in North Metro, yet apparently by that time he had already changed his mind and ordered a recount.

  43. My concern about the emergence from nothing of groups like Family First and this time the DLP is that it’s unclear what the full range of their policies will turn out to be – irrespective of what might appear on their website. For example, how could any voter at the time of the 2004 election know what Steve Fielding was going to do on media changes. He didn’t know himself it seems virtually up to the time he spoke on the bill, with one of the lamest-ever speeches in the Senate.
    I don’t think that the two DLP Legislative Councillors are likely to have much in common with the DLP Senators, 1955-74, other than the name. They will be able to make it up as they go along, which places an enormous amount of trust in their integrity and political judgement.
    I also noted that Paul Kavanagh (WVic) was claiming his success as an anti-abortion mandate. Since he and Family First, unequivocal anti-abortion votes represented about 5% of the vote, I think this is a contestable claim. Other candidates whose preferences pushed Mr. K. over the line would I suspect have vaired views on this issue, while most voters would regard the abortion issue as peripheral if not irrelevant to their concerns. Of course, he’s entitled to use spurious “mandate” claims as much as the Prime Minister, the Premier or any other party; however, we’re entitled to treat such claims circumspectly.

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